The Freedom to Confess
It’s often quite difficult to confess wrongdoing to someone else and be honest about our own contributions to a conflict. However, that’s the first step to resolving it.
When you think about it, the more you truly grasp the gospel, the easier you should find it to confess wrongdoing to others. You see, the gospel frees us to admit that we don’t have it all together.
One of the reasons I think people so often have difficulty confessing their contributions to a conflict and really owning up to any kind of wrongdoing is that we’re desperately trying to be the kind of people who have it all together.
We want to prove to others that we have it all together, we want to prove to God that we have it all together, and we want to prove to ourselves that we have it all together. It’s like we’re continuously building our resume for the world to see.
When you’re building a résumé, what do you do? You try to emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses and paint this wonderful picture of yourself. You want to make yourself look as good as possible. And that may work okay for a résumé (as long as we’re not deceptive), but we often try to live life that way as well. We want prove to others, to God, and to ourselves that we have it all together. And it can get to the point where we’re basically enslaved by that desire to prove ourselves.
Thankfully, however, the gospel frees us from that bondage.
You see, the gospel isn’t about human achievement. It’s not about what we can do to impress God or earning a place in heaven by being “good enough” for God. Instead, the gospel tells us that Jesus was already good enough in our place.
He lived a perfect life that fully satisfied God’s standard of righteousness, and then he died on the cross to take the penalty for all the ways we failed to satisfy that standard. And by putting our trust in him, we can enjoy the benefits of everything he did on our behalf. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to achieve it. We just have to humble ourselves enough to receive it as a free gift.
And when we do that, it frees us from our achievement-based, merit-based mentality. All of a sudden, we don’t have to prove ourselves anymore. We don’t have to have it all together. We’re free from that bondage.
And because of that, when we do wrong against someone else, we should feel the freedom to go to them, confess our wrongdoing, and freely admit that we’ve screwed up. After all, it’s okay that we’ve screwed up since Jesus died for screw-ups like us.